But Irish insurer plans to expand in the UK with moves into leisure and retail

Quinn will not bow to industry pressure and return to a credit rating agency until it can be assured of an A rating.

In an exclusive interview with Insurance Times, chief executive Colin Morgan outlined the controversial insurer’s plans for expansion in the UK. He said it would continue to expand in its largest lines of construction and personal motor, and move into new areas such as leisure and retail.

Morgan defended Quinn’s decision to withdraw from Moody’s credit rating agency last year and said that, although it was always under review, there were no current plans to reverse it. “We feel our business can continue to be successful without it,” he said.

He added that the insurer left Moody’s when it became clear it would not achieve an A – its BBB rating was confirmed before it left – and that it would not consider rejoining until an A was guaranteed.

Morgan said: “There’s a big opportunity to develop in the sectors in which we operate [in the UK]. Our retail and leisure sector is very strong in Ireland and that’s a sector we’re looking to grow in.”

Morgan added that the insurer would continue to operate in the professional indemnity market, which it entered recently.

He said the company preferred organic growth to acquisition: “We feel our model is a bit different, and it’s easier to build something different than acquire something and change it fundamentally.”

Morgan acknowledged that it has been a difficult 18 months for the insurer, with a fine from the Irish regulator, a reorganisation of its corporate governance, and rumours about its instability last November, which came to nothing. But he said the focus was now on driving the business forward: “We’ve redoubled our focus and it’s motivated us even more.”

Morgan also defended Quinn’s proactive approach to claims settlement and its pricing strategy. “Success isn’t what people are saying about you, it’s what you’re doing,” he said.

Read the full interview: Colin Morgan